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Alternative treatments for sleep apnea include acupuncture, alternative medicine herbs, and exercise. Conventional treatments for sleep apnea include using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, surgery, and use of supplemental oxygen. Sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes pauses in breathing patterns during sleep. Factors that can worsen sleep apnea include obesity, sinus problems, alcohol consumption, and sleeping on the back. Enlarged tonsils and taking medications such as antihistamines and certain prescription medications can also contribute or worsen sleep apnea.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. In addition, untreated sleep apnea may contribute to cardiac arrhythmias and obesity. Although alternative treatments for sleep apnea may prove beneficial, a doctor should be consulted before alternative treatment begins or is augmented with conventional treatment. A dentist also may recommend oral appliances that can help reposition the jaw to reduce the effects of sleep apnea.
Wedge pillows for sleep apnea can offer non-medicinal, non-surgical relief by keeping your head and esophagus elevated through the night. Sleeping at an upright angle prevents the airways from narrowing as they relax, reducing cases of apnea symptoms.
You may have to test several different products before you find the proper angle that allows you to rest comfortably while still being an effective treatment against the disorder. Alternatively, purchase an adjustable wedge to fine-tune the experience to your exacting parameters.
Other alternative treatments for sleep apnea include valerian root. Valerian is said to contain anti-anxiety and sedative properties that may improve sleep quality and sleep apnea. Valerian can be taken in supplement form or consumed as a tea. Supplements can be purchased at most nutrition stores, drug stores, and grocery stores. Before taking valerian preparations, a doctor should be consulted to determine if valerian is deemed safe for the situation.
Drinking cinnamon and ginger teas are also alternative treatments for sleep apnea. These can also help improve the quality of sleep for people suffering from sleep apnea and snoring. People who have obstruction sleep apnea often wake up multiple times during the night, so drinking these teas can help them stay asleep longer. Although drinking ginger and cinnamon teas is generally safe, patients with pre-existing conditions and patients taking other medications should consult a physician before trying alternative treatments for sleep apnea.
Excess weight can worsen sleep apnea and if the weight is located in the neck area it can cause an obstruction of the breathing tube, worsening sleep apnea. Losing even minimal amounts of weight can significantly improve sleep apnea and improve overall health. People who have sleep apnea often report daytime sleepiness, headaches, and fatigue. In addition, people who have sleep apnea may be at an increased risk for car accidents. This is because daytime sleepiness can affect reaction time and can even cause drivers to fall asleep at the wheel.